Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top diplomats allied with Ukraine squared off with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a meeting of the United Nations Security Council Thursday, confronting Russia on alleged war crimes and pledging to prosecute those responsible.
The Security Council meeting was taking place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a televised address mobilizing 300,000 troops to ramp up the war in Ukraine.
What Blinken said: “That President Putin picked this week, as most of the world gathers at the United Nations, to add fuel to the fire that he started shows his utter contempt for the U.N. Charter for the General Assembly and for this council,” Blinken said.
“The very international order that we have gathered here to uphold is being shredded before our eyes. We cannot, we will not allow President Putin to get away with it.”
- Blinken also noted the chorus of condemnation toward Russia’s war during the General Assembly coming from “countries developing and developed, big and small, north and south.”
“Even a number of nations that maintain close ties with Moscow have said publicly that they have serious questions and concerns about President Putin’s ongoing invasion,” he added.
Ukraine weighs in: The Security Council meeting was attended by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who told a press conference before the meeting that he would “keep safe social distance with” Lavrov, in one of the few instances where the two diplomats would be in the same room.
Kuleba used his remarks at the council to call for establishing a special tribunal to put “President Putin and his entourage on trial … for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.”
“And Russia should know one thing: It will never be able to kill all of us,” he added.
What the ICC said: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres bluntly blamed Russia for the deaths and injuries of civilians.
Those remarks were followed by the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, who — while not blaming Russia specifically — rejected claims from Moscow of staged atrocities in Ukrainian villages where mass graves and bodies lying in the streets suggested Russian war crimes.
- “When I went to Bucha and went behind St. Andrew’s Church, the bodies I saw were not fake,” Khan said, adding the ICC is determined to investigate crimes that fall within the court’s jurisdiction.
“We must demonstrate the resolve and the determination and the principle in order not to disappoint and fail those that are in most need of the law as we speak.”
Support for Russia: Russia received only tepid support from countries that have maintained ties with Moscow.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing supports “dialogue and negotiations without preconditions” and that “sovereignty, territorial integrity of all countries should be respected.”
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